Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Island


Starts out looking like a jazzed-up version of THX-1138: A sterile, spotless, soulless environment, everybody dressed alike. But something is obviously going on.


These people are clones, grown to replace the organs of rich people or to act as surrogate mothers for women too queasy to go through pregnancy. Harvesting them obviously involves killing them, so the story is they are vat-raised and mindless. It’s a huge operation, which bothers me right there. Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead, and such a massive number of people are involved in this conspiracy that it would be headlined on CNN ten minutes after it opened its doors.

But The Island’s worst sin is to set up an interesting moral situation and then completely fail to deal with any of its implications. After the set-up, about halfway through, it’s just one chase after another. At one point, after the escaped boy and girl survive a 40-story fall, a man looks at them and says “Jesus must really love you!” It’s about as rational an explanation as I’ve ever heard for this sort of mindless and stupid stunt-oriented action that humans could not possible survive.
You just hate it worse because of what it could have been. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson are sometimes very good as strangers in a strange land, said to have the minds of 15-year-olds, with all their adolescent compulsiveness. But it has nowhere to go but into the crapper of lots of big explosions. And if you’ve never seen an explosion in a crapper … skip this movie.